Out With (Some of) The Old

When my children made the transition from crib to bed I did not fool around.  Each went directly to a full  (as opposed to either a toddler or twin-size mattress) thanks to my foresight that as little ones they would appreciate the space available for me to dole out cuddles and read books as I lay beside them and/but they would eventually grow to be large enough human beings to be insulted by a twin.  I have logged many hours over the years laying alongside my kids and, as pathetic as it may sound,  nearly every time I have mentally patted myself on the back (because it would be weird for me to actually pat myself on the back) for having made the “full mattress” choice – one which I consider among the best I have made as a parent.  Given the myriad decisions I have been forced to make in my, gulp, 18 years of parenting, it should be telling to you that I determine this to be one of my best.  Yes, it is a little thing (particularly when you compare it to some of the, um, bigger stuff) but man, has it served me well.  I only hope all the other choices bode as well in the long run.

This weekend, Jessie (with some assistance*) rearranged and fumigated, er, cleaned up her room.  As a result, she has developed a new adoration for just hanging out in there.  The removal of the seven bags of crap (okay, there were closer to ten, but that sounds so outrageous, so pathological) which went on to be delivered to either the trash or Goodwill created the illusion of more space but the reality of a new serenity.  Yes, Jessie, it seems, has become a bit of a hoarder**… not in the creepy, reality show sense (yet, anyway) but what was unearthed (and discarded) from the many shelves, drawers, crevices and, perhaps the most frightening: under the bed, did give me pause.  I knew that it was cluttered with a few too many dolls (and wigs, and costumes) but perhaps my familiarity with it trumped my ability to acknowledge that it was in need of a mini makeover. Once it was all done, and for the first time in longer than I care to admit, it was a pleasure to go into her room.   It has been just four days, but the difference is noteworthy…if only for now.

Late yesterday afternoon I was aggressively searching for a new book to download when I realized it had been some time since I had either seen or heard from Jessie.  (I know, why not leave well enough alone, right?)  I wandered upstairs to see what she was up to and found her happily splayed across her lavender-quilted, pink-pillowed bed engrossed in something or other on her Kindle Fire.  (I would like to be able to assume that it was a book, but I suspect it was a game of some sort.  No matter.)  The room can certainly pass for a girl’s (despite the light blue carpet and complementary walls from male days gone by) and her hair, once again in need of a trim, was hanging in her face as it would any ten-year old girl.  I patted her on the butt and with a slight rising of my chin silently requested that she make room for me.  This time, unlike others in the past, she happily obliged.  I nudged her over a bit to ensure my own comfort and lay my head on her newly washed pillowcases.  I had every intention of engaging her in conversation, but instead I closed my eyes and reveled in the (newfound) serenity of the room.  The irony of discovering calm in, of all places, Jessie’s domain, was not lost on me.  Thoughts of her (on-going, never-ending, perpetual ) transition(s) from baby to toddler to kid to tween, not to mention the whole male to female thing, hindered my ability to form a thought or utter a word.  I was literally overcome with a surge of contentment…and exhaustion.

I am not sure that I fell completely asleep as I recall hearing noises around me and a dull commotion downstairs, but I definitely drifted in that space between consciousness and unconsciousness where one’s head and eyes are heavy and whatever might be happening nearby is of no interest or consequence.  I only lay there for about twenty minutes or so, but when I did drag my unapologetic ass off the bed, I was refreshed.

It, like many other things these past several years, snuck up and caught me unawares.  I was just glad to have been awoken by a gentle shake from Jessie asking me if I wanted to have dinner.  Sweet, right?

(Oh, but I would be remiss if I didn’t usher us all back to reality and point out that she wasn’t inviting me to dinner, rather she was requesting that I make it.   Oh, snap.)

*Hugs, kisses and thanks to DP for taking the charge on this one.  I wonder if he realizes that Jessie is still awaiting a paint job…preferably lavender.

**Let me assure you (and protect whatever may remain of my dignity) that there was nothing utterly, or even close to utterly, disgusting found.  It was just your average, run of the mill, everyday crap to which my kid has a (serious) affinity.

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12 thoughts on “Out With (Some of) The Old

  1. Hi, long-time reader here (thanks to your article in Boston Phoenix). Wonderful blog you have; it’s very inspiring to read about families being so supportive with children. And fantastic post here, as always. It’s almost as refreshing to read about clean rooms as it is to actually clean a room 🙂

    I wonder if the e-mail address you’ve given in your About Me section is up-to-date? I’d like to open up a conversation with you about your blog.

    Best,
    Carissa

  2. Give your girl’s room a paint job/makeover…lol It will be an incentive to keep it picked up!!! lol….She does need a color change to go with her gender change..she is one lucky girl!

  3. Dear Julie
    Another wonderful post, so glad for you to have found (more than) a moment of loving bliss and serenity with your daughter.

    I was directed to Huffpost yesterday (for the first time), by another post of a parent dealing with their transgender daughter and then to your last post via a link in the story. What I found were numerous coments from people who I could only describe as neanderthals.

    The vitriole that emanates from their keyboards is absolutely horrific and makes me wonder why they actually read these posts other than to vilify them. I think they have nothing better to do than criticise and condemn anyone who expresses love for another member of the human race.

    I also wonder why you bother to post there, (while respecting your right to do so) even though the supporters do outnumber the haters. It just seems to bring out the very worst in human behaviour that made me cringe with disgust. I have no intention of visiting the site again.

    I will continue to read all your posts here, where I can feel the love of your readers (with the occasional rare exception), emanating from my screen to you and your family.

    May your journey be paved with many more of the wonderful times that you have just told us about.

    Love to you and Jessie and the boys

    Sheryl

    • You are right about some of the horrible commentary over there…but there is also a nice dose of support and folks interested in learning. I think it represents the reality of the world that our children will be forced to face…scary but true. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  4. It’s interesting how exhaustion, similar to sadness can sneak up on you unexpectedly, at least this is my experience:) Even though we are through the initial transition in our house, there’s still so many remaining questions, items that need to be addressed, like the bedroom. If I pause long enough for everything to catch up to me, the exhaustion takes over.

    We are having windows replaced which is leading to the discussion of repainting rooms. I spent hours in my eldests bedroom hand painting flowers on the wall, it turned out beautiful, but is now being proclaimed as not cool enough.

    In our now youngest (and I guess newest) girls room, the request has been made to make it more fun and girl-like. No more race cars, no more masculine effects and decorations. So much love (and time!) went into both of these rooms trying to make it perfect for our respective children. Now we are faced with the reality that neither room is right anymore for different reasons.

    Sounds like you have found some peace and quietness in your home. Wishing you all the best. Thank you for the continued insight and look into your lives.

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